Photography Louis Capon

watch the shacks’s d.i.y. backyard video for “left it with the moon”

The NYC prodigies premiere their homemade visual for soulful lullaby "Left It With the Moon."

by Emily Manning
28 November 2017, 3:37pm

Photography Louis Capon

It’s a little ironic that our introduction to The Shacks (the buzzy NYC outfit fronted by Max Shrager and Shannon Wise) came in the form of an iPhone 8 Plus commercial. The ad — which features The Shacks’s strummy cover of “This Strange Effect,” a 1965 hit penned by Kinks frontman Ray Davies — spotlights the phone’s ability to create studio-quality lighting effects with a single swipe. Pretty high-tech for a band inspired by Motown soul-pop, doo-wop, and 60s garage-psych.

Though The Shacks craft a compelling old-school sound, Wise and Shrager are just 19 and 21. The pair first met in high school in New York, brought together by a love for 50s R&B pioneers The Five Keys. By that point, Shrager was already a familiar fixture at Daptone Records.

The prodigious guitarist knocked on Daptone’s door at just 14, and wound up touring with titans like Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones. By 17, he’d earned a songwriting credit for “Sinner,” the lead single from gospel-funk queen Naomi Shelton’s Cold World. Wise — the daughter of a producer and singer-songwriter — had honed her own songwriting prowess, and set about developing her distinctive, infectious whisper-vocal. Together, Wise and Shrager bring a fresh sensibility to classic American sounds.

“Left It With The Moon” — The Shacks’s brand new music video, which i-D premieres today — swaps picture-perfect iPhone lighting for a flashlight (seriously). While hanging out at Shrager’s house in New Jersey, the pair thought it’d be fun to make a video for a lonely lullaby Wise had written when unable to get in touch with her boyfriend, who’d been traveling for months. “Writing it comforted me and calmed me in that moment of yearning,” she explains.

So, Wise and Shrager grabbed what they could find (a flashlight, a camera, Max’s brother Scott), and made a home movie. “We used a keyboard stand as a makeshift tripod and propped up the camera on top. We discovered that the flashlight had a built-in strobe light, and we took turns filming each other and running around in the backyard,” says Wise. “The next morning I pieced it together and sent it off to get bouncy-balled.” The result is a sweet singalong that simultaneously recalls Sesame Street and David Lynch’s nocturnal crooners. Press play and "follow the bouncing ball!"


the shacks
Max Shrager
Shannon Wise